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Hate trial, take 3

by Tom Hasslinger
| April 30, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Two brothers will again stand trial for an alleged hate crime. Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Monday his office will re-try Frank J. Tankovich, 46, and William M. Tankovich, 49, on charges of conspiracy to commit malicious harassment and malicious harassment - or hate crime.

COEUR d'ALENE - Two brothers will again stand trial for an alleged hate crime.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Monday his office will re-try Frank J. Tankovich, 46, and William M. Tankovich, 49, on charges of conspiracy to commit malicious harassment and malicious harassment - or hate crime.

It will be the third time the two brothers will go before a jury stemming from a pair of altercations Aug. 16 outside the home of Kenneth Requena, who is Puerto Rican, in Coeur d'Alene.

The new trial has been scheduled for June 21 before 1st District Judge John Luster.

"We just made the decision to go forward and retry it," McHugh said, declining further comment on the pending case.

The third brother, Ira Tankovich, 48, was found guilty April 19 of conspiracy to disturb the peace.

During that trial the jury was 11-1 in favor of finding William and Frank Tankovich not guilty on malicious harassment and 8-4 in favor of not guilty on the conspiracy charge.

The first trial ended in mistrial in March after the first witness referred to the incident on a 911 tape as possibly racially motivated, which the judge said was out of order since the charge forces the prosecution to first prove that the victim was threatened, and then that the threat was racially motivated.

The three brothers stopped their truck outside Requena's home near 20th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue back in August and approached him in his yard.

The brothers, two of whom have racist symbols tattooed on them, said they were attempting to buy electrical equipment from Requena, but Requena said he felt so threatened that he asked his wife to get his gun and call 911. When the Tankoviches saw the gun, they left, only to return on foot 20 minutes later with a pit bull.

When police arrived at the scene they arrested Ira Tankovich, who was approaching the home with a gun from another direction than his other brothers.

The brothers called Requena racial names in front of officers.

Ira Tankovich, convicted in 1990 of voluntary manslaughter in California, is scheduled to go to trial May 18 on felony in possession of a firearm charges.

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